Poll: Should Annual Confidential Report of Officials be disclosed under RTI?

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  1. #41
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    C J Karira
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    Re: Disclosures of Annual Confidential Reports (ACR) comes under Official Secret Act


    Well, it seems the last word has not been said on this issue:

    Monday 22nd of October 2007

    Government Allows Disclosure Of Annual Confidential Reports

    Monday 22nd of October 2007 The government is slowly, albeit reluctantly, bowing to the demands for transparency as required by the two-year-old Right to Information Act, and is now allowing disclosure of annual confidential reports in case of 'public interest outweighing the private interest'.

    The change is evident from a Sep 21 government decision allowing 'in the public interest' the disclosure of annual confidential reports (ACRs) of government officials, which were earlier protected from public scrutiny under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).

    The circular, issued by the ministry of personnel and public grievances, seeks to streamline the guidelines for disclosure of ACRs in the face of growing demand for their disclosure under RTI.

    On the face of it, the memorandum bars the Public Information Authority -- appointed in government departments and ministries under the RTI Act to deal with demand for information -- from disclosing ACRs in ordinary circumstances.

    Yet the note eventually allows disclosure of ACRs in case of 'public interest outweighing the private interest'.

    The ministry issued the memorandum after a thorough legal vetting by the Department of Legal Affairs in the law ministry.

    'An ACR contains information about the character, capability and other attributes of the officials, disclosures of which to any other person would cause unwarranted invasion of privacy,' said the memorandum, barring public disclosure in ordinary circumstances.

    'Besides, an ACR, as the name suggests, is also a confidential document, disclosure of which is protected by the Official Secrets Act,' the memorandum said.

    'It's clear from above discussions that the public authority is not under obligation to disclose the ACR of any government employee to the employee himself or any other person.'

    In the same breath, the memorandum adds: 'The public authority, however, has a discretion to disclose the ACR if he is satisfied that public interest outweighs the harm to the protected interest.'

    While allowing the disclosure of an official's ACR in public interest, the memorandum, however, instructs the public authority to take the approval of the superior officer of the person whose ACR is being disclosed.

    Interestingly, while barring disclosure of ACRs in ordinary circumstances, the memorandum makes a meek assertion about the superiority of the OSA over the RTI Act.

    'The OSA (of 1923) is not completely superseded by the RTI Act, 2005,' the memorandum says.

    A senior law ministry official said the key phrase in this assertion is 'not completely', which indicates that the OSA is indeed superseded by the RTI Act in the event of public interest.

    The government's apparent stand on the superiority of the RTI Act over the OSA is not very different from Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah's reported stand on the issue.

    Habibullah said recently: 'I am very clear that when there is a direct conflict between the OSA and RTI Act, it is the RTI which prevails. The OSA cannot be used in a manner in which it is inconsistent with provisions of the RTI Act.'


    Government Allows Disclosure Of Annual Confidential Reports


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  2. #42
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    Re: Disclosures of Annual Confidential Reports (ACR) comes under Official Secret Act


    The complete circular can be viewed at:

    http://www.righttoinformation.gov.in...20_2006_IR.pdf

  3. #43
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    Re: Disclosures of Annual Confidential Reports (ACR) comes under Official Secret Act


    Now the point in the decision, is 'public Interest', and how to define it in context with 'ACR'. In the course of time, it should be clearly laid down as to what defines the boundaries of 'Public Interest' in such cases.

    The circular is not categorical.

  4. #44
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    Re: Disclosures of Annual Confidential Reports (ACR) comes under Official Secret Act



    Thanks karira for the input.
    i am sure this beginning would lead us to the position wherin the ACR of every individual would be shown to the person before being finalised

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    Re: Disclosures of Annual Confidential Reports (ACR) comes under Official Secret Act


    so it seems that now the name of the document ACR should be changed to annual progress report because it is no more annual confidential report. there should be some amendments regarding the same.

  6. #46
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    Re: Disclosures of Annual Confidential Reports (ACR) comes under Official Secret Act


    ACR should be APAR : Annual Performance Appraisal Report
    Please see:
    http://www.rtiindia.org/forum/673-rt...crs-apars.html

  7. #47
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    Re: Disclosures of Annual Confidential Reports (ACR) comes under Official Secret Act


    <TABLE id=HB_Mail_Container height="100&#37;" cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=0 UNSELECTABLE="on"><TBODY><TR height="100%" UNSELECTABLE="on" width="100%"><TD id=HB_Focus_Element vAlign=top width="100%" background="" height=250 UNSELECTABLE="off">I fullyb agree with ramugarg and karira for renaming the ACR.
    I would call it Annual performance appraisal and development report.
    </TD></TR><TR UNSELECTABLE="on" hb_tag="1"><TD style="FONT-SIZE: 1pt" height=1 UNSELECTABLE="on">
    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

  8. #48
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    Re: Disclosures of Annual Confidential Reports (ACR) comes under Official Secret Act


    Since the main object of the RTI Act is to promote transparency and accountability, then what is the harm in the disclosure of ACRs. There is no dearth of the officers, who give more weight-age to the buttering / flattery and personal liking etc. than the working, sincerity, efficiency and honesty etc. of their subordinates, while writing the ACRs. Only such officers will be exposed with the disclosure of the ACRs. If, the supervisory officers write the ACRs of their sub-ordinates with honesty, then they need not to be embarrassed. Moreover, in the Government sector, there are no rewards for working with honesty and dedications and atleast good remarks in the ACRs will keep them motivated to work with sincerity. The senior officers will also write the ACRs with much care, when they are aware that their remarks are likely to be disclosed. The other important point is that the noting portion of the files are disclosed, which also contain the remarks of various officers and such disclosure may cause much embarrassment as decisions taken on files have wider implications. When the noting portion can be disclosed, what is the harm in disclosure of the ACRs? <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comfficeffice" /><o></o>
    <o></o>

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